SHERIDAN — The last time the Sheridan Broncs squared off against the Evanston Red Devils, it was a 48 to zip shutout in favor of the Broncs in the 2015 playoffs. Friday night, Sheridan looked just as dominating in a 49-3 blowout of the Red Devils.
“Not really,” Sheridan head coach Don Julian said when asked if the Broncs did anything wrong Friday.
There were a couple of penalties and one turnover — a bit frustrating, Julian admitted — but Sheridan finished drives, something they didn’t do a few times at Kelly Walsh last week.
The team rushed for 121 yards and threw for 150 to split its offense, but it was defense and special teams that really put Sheridan in control.
“They blew the game open,” Julian said of his special-teams players. “Every time (Evanston) punted, we got a block or got a good return and then finished the drive.”
After a couple of rushing touchdowns for Sheridan, Jacek Aksamit scooped a blocked punt and took it 25 yards for the score to highlight an impressive night for the Broncs’ special teamers.
Aksamit was also in the middle of a Sheridan defense that’s essentially forced two shutouts in as many weeks. Aside from Evanston’s late field goal Friday — against Sheridan’s second unit — the Broncs haven’t allowed any points in two games and have only given up a total of 16 points on the year.
“It means we’re getting off the field and (the offense) is getting on,” Aksamit said of the defense’s play so far this year. “Offense is how we score, so that’s what we need to do.”
The Broncs defense forced a three-and-out on the first possession of the game, and started their first offensive drive on the Evanston 45-yard line. A couple of plays later quarterback Drew Boedecker was tucking the ball on an option play and scampering 38 yards for the score.
While Boedecker’s legs got it done on the first drive, he efficiently utilized his arm for much of the first half, connecting with speedy wideout Coy Steel for two scores.
Steel, coming off a shortened season due to an ACL tear, showed no symptoms of the injury as he caught a 74-yard touchdown pass before adding an easy 5-yard pitch and catch in the second quarter. Steel capped off the half with a rushing touchdown on a reverse.
“We knew that Evanston was probably going to struggle a bit,” Julian said. “But I thought our kids handled that very well, better than we did a week ago. We kept our focus better; we finished drives.”
The Red Devils were simply outmatched all night. Their best play of the night came on the opening drive off the second half — an interception returned for a touchdown. The only problem was, there was a roughing the passer penalty that negated the play, and the Broncs eventually drove down and scored on an 18-yard pitch to Kyle Custis.
Custis’ touchdown put the Broncs up 49-0, started the running clock under the mercy rule and sent the Sheridan starters to the sideline for good.
It was a big win for Sheridan — although an injury to top lineman Jacob Hallam was a dark spot on the night.
The Broncs now enter a gauntlet stretch of the schedule — two road games at Cheyenne East and Rock Springs before returning home for a state championship rematch with rival Gillette.
“We started with three opponents that weren’t great at this point of the season,” Julian said. “But I hope that we have utilized these three weeks well. We’re going to find out right away.”
“We build our confidence; it gets us ready,” Aksamit said of the blowout wins to open the season. “Simple as that. Hopefully we had good practice the next week and be ready.”
NOTES: Parker Christensen scored on a 4-yard rush in the first quarter…Evanston had 90 yards rushing and 63 yards passing…Sheridan had five penalties for 38 yards and one lost fumble.